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Big Changes Coming to Next Year’s ACA Plans

The third annual open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act is now over and in the record books, so it’s time to start looking ahead to the next OEP, scheduled to begin on November 1, 2016. This is important because there are likely to be some big changes coming to next year’s ACA plans for the 2017 open enrollment period, changes which could impact your conversations with existing clients and the way you market individual health plans between now and November.

Fewer Special Enrollment Opportunities in 2016

In an effort to make the Marketplace attractive for both consumers and insurance companies, CEO Kevin Counihan stated in a January 19 press release that CMS is eliminating “several unnecessary special enrollment periods” while clarifying the definitions of other SEPs. He also vowed that CMS will provide “stronger enforcement so that special enrollment periods serve the purpose for which they are intended and do not provide unintended loopholes.”

Last Chance for Coverage in 2016

As you know, the first two enrollment deadlines for 2016 coverage have come and gone. During these last couple of weeks of the annual open enrollment period, people can sign up for coverage to begin on March 1st. We know you’re busy trying to sign up as many people as possible in the last few days, so we’ll keep this short, but we did want to share a couple items with you that may help you better advise your clients and bring in a few more sales.

Time to Brush Up on HSAs

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) first hit the scene back in 2004, and since that time they’ve grown at a steady pace. Every year, more and more brokers get on board with consumer-directed health plans and HSA plans in particular. Still, not every agent is a fan. It’s not easy to create conscientious healthcare consumers. Americans have shown an unwillingness to save their money, and, without up-front copayments, some people go without needed care.

Understanding the ACA’s Cost-Sharing Subsidies

A lot of emphasis has been placed on the Affordable Care Act’s premium tax credits over the past couple years—and rightly so. The Advanced Premium Tax Credit (APTC) makes it possible for millions of Americans to purchase health insurance; without the financial assistance, many would likely remain uninsured.

What’s going on with commissions?

In what seems like a strange move to most brokers, some carriers have stopped paying commissions on their most desirable plans, those with larger provider networks and out-of-network options. Why in the world would they do this? Do they not value the agent anymore?

This Year, Agents are More Important Than Ever

It’s funny to think that, just a few years ago, many of us were worried that the government was creating a do-it-yourself, Travelocity©-like website that might eliminate the need for health insurance agents altogether. Boy, were we wrong.

Spread Out Your Pitches for More Sales Success

Are you striking out when trying to sell supplemental and ancillary insurance? Maybe it’s because you’re trying to cram all of your sales efforts into a single call or appointment. There are three big reasons why this may not be a good idea.

3 Open Enrollment Tips for Brokers

It’s that time of the year again—open enrollment. The 2016 individual open enrollment period begins November 1 and ends January 31, which means that brokers who specialize in individual coverage will be very busy for the next three months. To help make sure this is a successful selling season for you, we thought we’d share a few quick thoughts.

Congress Votes to Preserve Definition of Small Group

One of this fall’s “hot topics” highlighted in this month’s AHCP newsletter, was the definition of small group for purposes of the plan design and rating rules and how it varies and may change. One such change is that brought about by the Affordable Care Act. Starting in 2016, companies with 100 or fewer employees will be considered small employers and be subject to the essential benefits requirement and the modified adjusted community rating rules. Currently, every state sets the cutoff at 50 employees, rather than 100.

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